What has the world forgotten?
James Ensor, Belgium’s famous painter.
What’s worse than a cockroach landing on your face?
Awaking one morning from uneasy dreams to find yourself transformed in your bed into a gigantic insect.
What song haunts you?
“Love Will Conquer All” by Lionel Richie has been lurking in my basement rattling a length of chain and making strange moaning sounds since spring of 1997.
Who is the real life ‘Frank Underwood’ in your country?
No politician in my country is even half as intelligent as Frank Underwood.
There are three rabbits in a cage. Three girls ask to be given a rabbit and each recieve one. Yet there is still one rabbit in the cage. How?
Rabbits breed really fast.
What happened to Quiznos?
They sold their souls to the Spong Monkeys and never recovered.
What’s the correct way to pronounce “Benedict Cumberbatch”?
You are in charge of lodging and boarding in the afterlife. Who would you bunk together in the same room?
Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Pol Pot, Osama Bin Laden, Kim il Sung and Chairman Mao would have to share one small room with three sets of bunk beds. It would also have the afterlife equivalent of webcams so everyone can enjoy the ensuing hi-jinks.
Which is the best planned crime in history?
The one no one knows about.
Flat earthers and Alien conspiracy theorists get into a fist fight at the bar. Who wins?
The rest of us.
If you had a giraffe that you needed to hide, where would you hide it?
Among many other giraffes
What makes a salad a salad?
Their relationship with Ssendam and Ygorl.
What do you think about Dubai city?
The modern Babylon. An unsustainable fever dream floating on a sea of oil. When the oil runs dry, Dubai will fall back into the desert, becoming a haunt of jackals and an abode of owls.
How much would it cost to go to the moon and smoke up?
Depends whether you want to come back or not.
How do you eat a creme egg?
Not at all. They are gross.
Aspiring Cult leaders, what is your sales pitch to get me to drink your Flavor-aid?
In my cult you get genuine Kool-aid!
What is the happiest thing you’ve ever seen at a wedding?
I went to a wedding at a Llama farm. The Llamas seemed pretty content.
Every day a former United States President starting with George Washington tries to kill you. What is your survival strategy?
Resurrect John Wilkes Booth!
Why is the earth a circle?
It’s an oblate spheroid you cretin!
When does 1 + 1 not equal 2?
For sufficiently small values of 1.
You win two metric tons of shrimp. What do you do?
Would you accept the whole world going metric if the whole world drove on the right side of the road in return?
But if we have to drive on the right, how am I to strike oncoming motorists with my cane?
What’s the most evil thing you’ve done for a laugh?
I shot a man in Reno just to laugh at him while he died.
If you were to be an insect, what insect would you want to be?
A Lord Howe Island Land Lobster.
Why is Donkey Kong called Donkey Kong?
Because “Ass Kong” wouldn’t be acceptable in the American market.
Have you been to the Dark Web? What did you see?
It’s wild man! There’s this dog which does circus tricks, and a trained gorilla, and all of Donald Trump’s emails and you can sit and read them all you want and there’s this guy who comes around with a drinks cart and he’ll make you the best Long Island Ice Tea you’ve ever had! I’m going back on Thursday!
Why is the murder of people aged 10 ten to 35 that believe walking sticks are an acceptable fashion accessory illegal?
Because roughly one in five cane wielders are secretly experts in the martial art of Bartitsu, and the death toll among those trying to (however justifiably) murder them was completely unsustainable.
What’s the weirdest food you’ve seen someone bring to work or school?
This guy bought in a slice of meat placed between two slices of bread, smeared with some kind of grease, which he called a “Sand-Witch”. He’s clearly insane!
If you and your crush go to different schools but text a lot, what does it mean?
It means that they are an avatar of the dreaded snake god Yig and are planning to sacrifice you to their million children at the next equinox!
You are granted the right to make a single rule change to ONE sport of your choosing. Which sport do you choose, what rule do you implement?
Baseball. When a batter strikes out they must bow (from the waist) to the catcher and loudly exclaim “THANK YOU FOR MY LESSON NOBLE GRANDFATHER!”
If you were given one thousand acres of land that you didn’t need to pay taxes on but couldn’t sell, what would you do with it?
Build a worm store.
If you were stuck in the world of Candyland with Kim Jong Un and Rihanna, and the objective to ascend is to slurp, how would?
I don’t understand a word you just said.
People in the UK, anyone know what that big ball of light outside is?
It’s just the Orfordness Lighthouse!
What’s the worst name for a baby?
Osama von Hitlerstalin
People who have spent time in a psych ward, what was your experience?
It’s all you can eat prescription drugs like Thorazine, and Lithium, and electroshock treatments with trees and flowers and chirping birds and basket weavers who sit and smile and twiddle their thumbs and toes and life is beautiful all the time, and you’re happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats!
Aliens are just a cover story – what’s the real horrifying truth about Area 51?
It’s where they keep the things recovered from the vaults under Wewelsburg castle at the end of World War II.
What annoying habbits do you have that drive people crazy ?
Well, Frodo keeps pulling these really stupid practical jokes on everyone and… oh, sorry, I misread…
Who is actually unironically excited for the live action Sonic movie?
If Shrek was real, where on Earth would he live?
The Pinsk Marshes of Eastern Europe. The talking donkey is obviously down to contamination from Chernobyl.
What Teletubby are you?
Gulp-Gulp, the one who was exiled from Teletubbyland for continually screening hardcore vore.
How do you pronounce scone?
The Devil has come to town, and will give you everything you dream of if you defeat three mythological creatures – a dragon, Medusa and the Minotaur – using only one object. Failure means death. What object do you choose?
I’d choose a copy of Das Kapital, convert them to Communism and make them rise up against the bourgeoisie.
What’s the best type of cheese?
Cheese made from the milk of the mates of the goats that pull Thor’s chariot!
What are some stereotypes of the people who live in Wisconsin?
They’re all named Jon Jonson and work at a lumber mill.
If you could visit any one person through out history, in the future or past, who would you choose?
Martin Luther. I’d paint my face red and jump out of a bush at him, sounding an air horn and yelling “BLALALALALALALA!!!! I AM THE DEVIL!!!!”
You have the power to change colour of anything in the universe. What change would you make?
All cows are now offensively fluorescent pink!
It means a girl scout is watching everything you do on it.
What’s a really funny Spoonerism?
A toast to the queer old Dean!
What comes to mind when you hear “Singapore”?
Humidity and a government that borders on Fascism.
How hasn’t AOL gone out of business?
They continue to reap huge profits by recycling the plastic from their warehouses full of free trial CDs. Current estimates say the supply will run dry in mid June 2064, so sell your AOL shares before then!
What culture is the best?
You have to escape the FBI, where will you hide?
The J. Edgar Hoover building. They’d never expect to find me right under their noses!
How will you get inside?
I’ll pretend to be a pizza delivery guy, then I’d hide out in the drywall.
What do you think Alien feces would look like?
What do you think they’ve been putting in McDonalds apple pies for years?
What are some important developments a civilisation must achieve to be considered advanced ?
The Fruit Corner Yogurt Packet.
What does fart power do?
Propel Chinese philosophers across lakes.
What’s the best way to get white teeth after years of neglecting them ?
Follow someone with nice teeth into an alley and repeatedly punch them in the mouth.
What do you usually carry in your glovebox?
The Jade Monkey
Time travel becomes common: what new sports are now possible?
What is the least appropriate time to do finger quotes?
I swear to tell “the truth” and nothing but “the truth”, so help me “god”…
Based on conversations you’ve had or overheard, what are some major plot points of a TV show you’ve never watched?
There is a nerd, and possibly some other nerds, and the first nerd likes to say “bazinga” for presumably nerdy reasons.
A human with integrated prosthetic limbs or organs is called a cyborg. What is a human called that has no natural organic matter left and is fully converted from the top of the head to bottom of toes?
A Senior Magos of the Adeptus Mechanicus.
When someone goes to bed, doesn’t that mean that they, like, die for a couple of hours?
I think you might be doing sleeping wrong…
What happens to dead grizzly bears?
A team of black bear funeral directors take care of all the details to spare their relatives.
What’s the perfect fast food order?
Extra Surly Chicken with a side of Lung Puppies.
If by killing others you increased your health and lifespan, what changes do you think there would be to the world as we know it?
There would be no need for orphanages.
Who would get to kill the orphans?
Why, the rich of course!
What is the most likely diagnosis for the Sheldon Cooper character on The Big Bang Theory?
You can remove up to a total of one minute of footage from any movie in order to make it as confusing as possible, what do you remove from which movie?
Star Wars: A New Hope. I’d remove Luke making the shot and blowing up the Death Star, so there’s just an inconclusive space battle, then everyone goes home and gets medals.
What’s your least favorite state in the US?
Idaho. It knows what it did!
The Nazis are back, how does the public react?
Vote for them, apparently.
What’s the weirdest rumour that you have heard?
That there’s a temple in Pakistan where they crush the pituitary gland of orphaned babies so they grow up as mentally impaired ‘rat children’ who can raise money for the temple by begging.
How can someone watch The Big Bang theory online?
I’m still wondering how anyone can watch the Big Bang Theory full stop.
To where do the doves flock?
To the Hobby Shop where they do buy flock.
What do you think of Momo?
Back in my day Momo was the Missouri Monster and that’s the way we liked it!
What do you think of The Process Church of the Final Judgment?
The Church Universal and Triumphant have better tunes.
What is the proper etiquette when you have diarrhea and you go into a stall but someone is already in the stall next to you?
Shout “AT HIS INFERNAL MAJESTY’S REQUEST!!” then let fly.
What’s a Pokémon design that hasn’t been made yet that you would love to see in a new game?
It starts as Glenn Beck, evolves into Alan Jones, then explodes.
How old should you be to drink Kombucha?
Sixty-five. At that point you’ve lived a decently long life so it won’t matter if the local Hippy’s festering clump of fermenting bacteria has been contaminated with salmonella.
How many times should you say “Chugga” before you finish it off with “Choo Choo?”
Ten times. No more, no less!
People who have eyes looking two directions, can they actually see two angels or do they have normal vision?
Yes, but only Nathaniel and Azoriel and they’re pretty crappy Angels.
You were just elected President of the United States. What’s the first policy you’re going to enact?
Puerto Rico is now a state, but to save on flag money Mississippi is now part of Cuba.
You can dispense any two liquids from each of your two index fingers for the rest of your life with no limitation. What two do you choose, and why?
That vodka with gold flakes in it – so I can filter out the gold and be rich – and squid ink – so I can Zoidberg out of any awkward situations.
Why not just liquid gold?
Sometimes a man likes to get drunk.
What’s the worst thing to see in the woods alone?
Every bear that ever there was.
What do you imagine life on the International Space Station would be like if they all had a pet cat?
Messy and short.
If you were to insult someone, but couldn’t use any cuss words, what would you say?
“You, sir, are a pathetic excuse for a Hotel Manager!”
If you could have one extra body part (that fully functions), what would it be and why?
An extra heart would be great not just as a backup, but also for Dr Who cosplay!
If you were the Roman Emperor and the Empire was at the brink of collapse, what would you do?
Poison my mother, sleep with my sister and marry my horse!
Who killed Gambino boss Frank Cali?
Personally I suspect that a Gambado killed the Gambino.
Where did the pineapple come from?
When a pine tree and a bromeliad love each other very much…
Who is tracking the FBI?
The Coast Guard?
Why is propane stored above ground, while petrol and diesel are stored underground?
Storing propane underground just attracts molemen.
What did we build this city on?
What would happen if you hid in Disneyland overnight?
You would not survive. At night the staff retreat into the tunnels, seal the doors and let the real Mickey Mouse out.
What are your thoughts on A.I. ?
Abominable Intelligence is an affront to the Omnissiah! I declare you a Heretek! Report for servitor conversion at once!
Who discovered gene cascades?
Doctor Gene Cascade. They named them after him.
What are your morals and alignment?
Teef is a showerthought. Try figure it out but no sense bent made. Explain it to me dear?
Put down the bong and go to bed. You’ll feel better in the morning.
What would be nearly impossible to accomplish with no light at all?
Painting a picture of a lovely horse
What do you wish for when you see a shooting star?
To get with child a mandrake root
What’s something your opposing political party doesn’t understand about you?
I will vote for policies based on science and basic human decency.
What would you be doing right now if you had the power to go invisible?
Running around inside the Whitehouse with an air horn.
What does playing basketball have to do with being tall?
Thomas Jefferson had it written into the Bill of Rights that “only those of six feete tall or more” would be allowed to “partake of the game of Ball-in-the-Baskete at the professional levell”. The rest of the founding fathers had had a big night and by the time they sobered up and actually read Jefferson’s submission it was too late to remove it.
What would you do if you were a vampire?
Invest in term deposits.
Where’s Lola when you need her?
In a club down in North Soho.
What do you call people who hate the imperial system but prefer expressing their height in feet and inches?
Cats are assholes, what’s yours done?
My cat, or my asshole?
It’s 3am, what are you crying over this time?
The existence of Matchbox Twenty
Do you have any advice for someone going on the dark web for the first time?
Don’t take any wooden bitcoins
What is the worst part about having a penis?
I’d say it’s awfully nice to have a penis!
What are the legal issues of setting up a small bear trap in your vehicle?
Depends on the local population of small bears.
Which book has the worst movie adaptation?
There was this TV movie called ‘A Wizard of Earthsea’. I presume they paid Ursula K. Le Guin to use the name for some random script a producer’s 12 year old scribbled up.
You’ve won the lottery to officially choose new names for all the planets, what are they now called?
Blue Boy Two, Electric Boogaloo
What about Ceres, Eris, Makemake and Haumea?
What is the scariest monster you can imagine?
An oversized, mentally challenged oompa-loompa with access to a nuclear arsenal.
What are your thoughts on magic and the occult?
They’re good for making a buck!
Why are you sooo uggly lool!?
I was born this way. And don’t call me Lool.
If you could go back in time and give blueprints to an invention before it was even thought of, What would it be and who do you give it to?
I’d give Hitler detailed blueprints for a Fitbit and tell him it’s a super weapon that will defeat the Soviets.
What year were you born?
The year of the great drought, the passing of the Bird Man, and the dawn of the blood plague
What would you recommend doing in Prague?
What job exists because we are idiots?
For one day, all animals obey you and do your bidding- what do you do in those 24 hours to make the most of this power?
Every raven within 100 miles of Donald Trump flies to him and just sits there, silently staring.
How would our world be changed if all the religion of the world were removed and never existed?
We would be living in golden paradise cities floating above the land on clouds of pure reason, children would compete in organised team logic contests and Richard Dawkins would be king!
If Tuesday are for Tacos, then what are Wednesdays for?
What exactly do stores do when the power goes out?
Depends on the store. At Walmart the floor managers organise the staff into hunting packs to catch the largest customer possible, who will then be sacrificed to the spirit of Sam Walton in an attempt to restore the power.
Would you tell anyone if you very clearly saw a UFO, and had zero doubt about what it was?
If I had zero doubt about what it was then it wouldn’t be an unidentified flying object
What is a video game that can’t be turned into a movie?
Uwe Boll has shown us that no such thing exists.
What do you like (or hate) about eating at Panda Express?
That they got rid of the tanks where you could choose what panda you want to eat 🙁
What is the end goal of the Republican Party in the United States?
For all Republican politicians to be rich as God
Who is the sexiest woman alive on this planet?
Professor Alice Roberts
Why do some larger buildings have stones/pebbles layering the top of their roof?
It’s intended to block the signals from the Government mind control satellites (and stop the roof from blowing away).
What is your favorite part of The Matrix?
The scene just after they get Neo out of the tank where he and Morpheus bond over their shared sadness that they have no hair to braid.
How do you raise children? Would you recommend a book?
Yes I would. Having a book is infinitely preferable to raising children.
How would you kill a giant bearlion that was resistant to bullets?
Challenge its masculinity until it falls into despair and can’t go on.
How did you realize you are not the normal person you thought you were?
I never considered myself to be normal.
Ah! Rugose, flaccid nose-hole of the ruffled temple zone,
Your googly funnel-bunny gnaws a constipating bone,
The flow of curdled fennel burbles freely ‘twixt my toes,
Like humming lemon lemmings plinking furgled fertile rows,
Give over to me all your wingèd tokens priss-pristine,
Lest I dislocate your gruntle sack you disgusting pervert,
In early 1960’s Liverpool – a city still suffering the scars of the determined Luftwaffe bombardment of twenty years earlier – a teenage boy purchased a short story collection titled Cry Horror! from a sweet shop that also did a line in second hand books. The book was a re-titled print of H. P. Lovecraft’s The Lurking Fear and Other Stories, and the boy was a young Ramsey Campbell who would go on to become one of Britain’s greatest horror authors.
Totally infatuated with Lovecraft’s work, the young Campbell whipped off a series of pastiches set in H. P.’s fictional New England towns of Arkham, Kingsport and Dunwich. Then – in a remarkable act of self confidence – he sent them off to August Derleth, Lovecraft’s literary executor and publisher.
One would expect Derleth to have thrown these efforts straight into the bin, but apparently he saw something in them. He wrote back to Campbell telling him “in no uncertain terms” how to improve his writing, including advice to stop trying to imitate Lovecraft’s style, and to stop trying to set his tales in America. Campbell took this advice on board and shortly afterwards Derleth published one of his rewritten tales – with a revised title and some other editorial amendments – in a short story collection, and a few years later published an entire book of his stories – The Inhabitant of the Lake and Less Welcome Tenants.
Over the next few years Campbell continued writing Lovecraft inspired works, gradually developing his own voice and style. In the process he created his own version of Lovecraft’s New England, a fictionalised version of Gloucestershire’s Severn Valley sometimes referred to as ‘Campbell Country’.
The locales of Campbell Country and Lovecraft Country can be roughly matched. The university town of Brichester maps to Arkham. Temphill is Kingsport – despite the former’s inland location. Goatswood is an English version of Dunwich. Of course as Campbell continued his writing his versions moved further away from the originals.
So, why am I writing about all this? It comes down – as it usually does with me – to cartography.
The Inhabitant of the Lake contained a map of Campbell Country, as did the 1995 tribute anthology Made in Goatswood. But both of them were sketch maps at best. The problem of developing a more detailed map of the Severn Valley has vexed me ever since I discovered Campbell’s oeuvre in the 1990s, and a few years back I decided to finally do something about it.
The primary problem with Campbell country is that there’s actually no room for it! It lies between the lower Severn River and the Cotswold hills – an area about 15 kilometres across. Brichester – a city easily the size of Swindon – would take up most of that space, leaving nowhere for the various desolate plains and creepy, isolated villages of Campbell’s stories. The map from Made in Goatswood even tries to fit the whole region in between the river and the M5 motorway, an area 6 kilometres across at the very widest!
On top of this, the Vale of Berkeley (as the region is properly known, the term ‘Severn Valley’ usually applying to areas north of Gloucester) is full of villages and urban developments, leaving ever less room for ominous woods and alien monuments.
So, I made two decisions. Firstly I would ignore matters of scale, and secondly I would free up space by replace existing locations with Campbellian ones.
So I got to work. But then (as so often happens) I got distracted. But then a few months back I found the files and decided to get back onto it.
In my revised geography Purton becomes Severnford with Old Severnford on the opposite side of the river. Claypits become the decaying hamlet of Clotton – it’s in the right place and I couldn’t resist the alliteration. The real world town of Cam is shrunk down to provide room for Camside. Ulley is converted to the sinister Goatswood and its valley filled with forest. Nympsfield becomes Temphill. The area around Haresfield (appropriate!) is depopulated and Warrendown plumped in the middle. Brichester Lake (and its inhabitant), the Devil’s Steps and Castle Morley are placed appropriately, and finally the city of Brichester is placed on the intersection of the railway and the A38 (which looks like this in reality). A few roads are moved, a few rivers redirected, and we’re done!
So here is my map of Campbell Country. I’ve no doubt made some mistakes and some incorrect assumptions, but overall I’m pretty happy with it.
Iä Gla’aki! Iä Iä Y’golonac!